A South Bay family is making good on a promise this week. One year ago this week, members of Ross Abinanti's family made promises to God, each other and perfect strangers that they would do anything if they could find their lost loved one alive.
You may remember the story of Mr. Abinanti, who suffers from dementia. He wandered away from a caretaker in downtown Campbell last June while his wife ran in to get him some ice cream. Abinanti is a husband, father, brother and well-known teacher in the area. When news started to spread that he was missing, hundreds of people, including former students, turned out to help search for him. They met every morning at the Campbell Starbucks to come up with a plan to "find Ross."
The group used the new media of social networking as well as the old media of paper fliers to help find Abinanti.
The grassroots effort worked. Abinanti was found alive behind a Saratoga pizza place by a local little league team 10 days after he wandered away from that Campbell shopping plaza.
Over those 10 long days, Abinanti's family vowed to remain active voices for awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia-related illnesses, regardless of the outcome of their story.
Now, 365 days later, "Team Ross" is following through on that pledge. They have organized a series of events to raise money and awareness. They say they wanted to turn their near-tragedy into something positive. They are reaching out to the same community network and asking them to stay involved and engaged in the cause.
They also want to celebrate the fact that they found Abinanti.
Abinanti is now living in a care facility. Because of his dementia, he still hasn't been able to tell his wife what happened those 10 long days.
"Team Ross" has organized the following events:
A Night to Remember
Wednesday, June 30 6 – 9 p.m.
Rock Bottom Brewery at the Pruneyard, 1875 South Bascom Ave, Campbell
To change a challenging memory into one of hope, Team Ross (under the Dementia Care Coaching Team) has organized a fun filled night of music, food and libations to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk 2010. Proceeds of the night will be donated to Team Ross to benefit the fight against Alzheimer’s.
It is not a Trivial Matter...It’s a Night of Trivia!
Tuesday, July 6 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
The Grapevine: wine, cheese and tasting bar, 1389 Lincoln Ave, San Jose
With a nod to Ross’ intellect, sense of humor and active social consciousness, Team Ross would like to invite you to a night of fun trivia with Mike and Justin at the Grapevine wine, cheese and tasting bar. 20 percent of the nights proceeds will go to the Association for Frontotemporal Dementias.
A Day Not Forgotten
Saturday, July 10, 2010 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Rock Bottom Brewery at the Pruneyard, 1875 South Bascom Ave, Campbell CA, 95008
Come join Team Ross in celebrating the one year anniversary of the day "We Found Ross." Proceeds of this day’s event will go to the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk 2010. This also marks the final event of a 10 Day fundraising effort by Team Ross. Bring your family and friends for a day not to be forgotten, with a family who will always remember. The family will be at this event from 2 – 6 p.m., so please come by to say hello.
Lori Preuitt remembers how her heart jumped with joy the moment she heard that Ross was found alive.